Top Parenting Phrases That Could Totally Backfire

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So many of the parenting phrases parents use to entice compliance from their children tend to backfire: children depend on logic or the false assumption that you can manipulate them when you can't force them to do something.

Almost every parent who seeks assistance begins by describing their child as delightful, curious, extremely clever, and extremely funny. But they don't know how to listen. He fights and bargains for it, and when he doesn't get his way, he throws tantrums. We have the impression that what we do is scream at him and engage in power struggles with him. Help!

The bottom line is that toddlers are both fantastic and frustrating. But they don't have to be frustrating. Many parents' anger and powerlessness stem from a critical expectation gap: they treat their young children with justification.

The issue is that young children are driven by their instincts and feelings rather than logic. Their ability to get what they want, when they want it, and to assert some power and influence over their surroundings is the order of the day. That's why so many of the tactics parents use to entice compliance from their children backfire: they depend on logic or the false assumption that you can manipulate your child when you can't force her to do something.

The truth is that the more you try to monitor, the more likely he is to rebel against your expectations.

READ: Understanding Tantrums to Tame Them

Remove these often used parenting phrases

"No, thank you."

In recent years, parenting phrases have begun to use the word "No, thank you" instead of "don't" or "stop." "No, thank you" means "I don't want that, but I appreciate you offering it to me." We send a mixed message when caregivers use it to soften a "no"-for example, in response to a child attempting to steal something from our hands.

Say 'no' instead. It's OK to set a strict, unyielding cap. Starting a sentence with "Let's not..." and ending with an explanation is an excellent way to go. If you say it out of habit, correct yourself at the moment. Modeling the ability to go back and correct a mistake will be more effective.

"Hands are not to be used for hitting."

This comment might be appropriate for very young children who don't yet understand that hitting isn't acceptable, but it's condescending otherwise. It's not a lack of knowledge. They're doing it. They can't help themselves because they're out of control. So saying, "Hands aren't for punching," is a no-brainer.

When a child who should know better strikes, they need assistance in controlling their feelings and resolving a dispute more appropriately. Come in and lend a hand. Don't treat them as if they're a bumbling fool who has forgotten the rules.

ALSO READ: Toddler Tantrums: When They Are No Longer Normal

Use your own words

Children don't know what to say, and when they're angry, they're cut off from the portion of the brain that thinks.

Often believe that if they could use their vocabulary, they would! Imagine you're weeping and screaming in a conversation with your partner, and they tell you to use your vocabulary. It will be a disaster. It's like hammering nails into a blackboard.

Give the child the words they need. Please put the words in their mouths directly.


This is something that almost every parent is guilty of. But we aren't even wondering when we say this. We're usually only looking for buy-in or assurance of their willingness to cooperate.

When you add "OK?" to order, you're either implying that you'll follow through regardless of how they react, or you're giving up your position as a strong leader. Neither is a good option.

Remove the "OK?" and replace it with a "please" or "thank you."

READ MORE: Experts Reveal How to Stay Calm When Your Toddler Throws a Tantrum in Public

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